Bill Snyder, head coach of Kansas State, holds the great honor of being the only head coach in FBS who is currently coaching in a stadium named after him. After his arrival in 1989, and subsequent turnaround of a dismal program, Wildcat games are a hot ticket and Bill Snyder Stadium is an intimidating place to play. The views encountered along the trek to Manhattan, cleverly nicknamed “The Little Apple,” offer a stark contrast from the concrete towers that litter “The Big Apple.” Skyscrapers and pedestrians are replaced with wheat fields and cattle.
T-shirts around the stadium proclaimed, “Fill the Bill,” and the purple followers came through. The crowd sent rumbles through the Great Plains as Kansas State took the field in front of a record opening day home crowd. As if there wasn’t enough roar in the crowd to start the game, Harley Day in Manhattan sent more noise bouncing off the walls of Bill Snyder Stadium. With Snyder’s return to the sidelines, much anticipation has grown for the Wildcats and having UCLA as an opponent only increased the excitement.
Nebraska has experienced some hard times lately under new head coach Bill Callahan. A program rich in national titles and winning streaks experienced their first season without a bowl last year. A team that history has dubbed “The Big Red Machine” has been recently reduced to “The Big Red Wind-Up Toy.” But, a win over Kansas State would make them bowl-eligible again. Walking around Lincoln prior to the game, you wouldn’t know that the Cornhuskers have been struggling. Fan support is strong and the folks in this state make football Saturdays an event that rivals Christmas.